Labor migration between Estonia and Finland might not recover even at the end of the month when the strict travel restrictions imposed by Finland will end.
Finnish Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo said that Finland's main goal was to protect its population from coronavirus and did not agree to name a specific deadline for ending the restrictions, ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" evening news program reported on Thursday night
Ohisalo affirmed in Helsinki on Thursday that the Finnish government fully understands the concerns of people trapped in Finland or Estonia due to circumstances. However, no exceptions will be made for Estonia, despite good results at the ministerial level.
"The task of our government is to protect the life and health of the people of our country. Of course, we strive to make the process between our countries as smooth and normal as possible, but this is not the time yet," Ohisalo said.
Strict travel restrictions have also led to Finland being formally reprimanded by the European Union for violating Schengen rules.
Ohisalo said the country has had good reasons for continuing to close its internal borders.
"Schengen has not been created in consideration of such a pandemic threat. We have justified the continuation of border controls with a major public health crisis, which is also a threat to internal security," the minister said.
Traveling from Estonia to Finland will not resume in the usual way any time soon. According to Ohisalo, Estonia still has to a long way to go with vaccination and the infection rate must fall a lot.
"The infection rate must be 25 before one can travel to Finland for no reason. But there are very few countries in such a good situation," Ohisalo said.
As of Thursday, the infection rate in Estonia was 357.9.
When it comes to easing travel restrictions, restrictions on business travel will first be removed and family reasons will be added to travel opportunities.
Editor: Helen Wright